inhale...exhale...relax your shoulders...repeat as often as needed

Friday, May 29, 2020


 I offer you an invitation.
Come sit with me, here, 
where we can exhale together.
I have a few questions for you today.
Just for your consideration.
There is no right or wrong answer.
 I am inviting a stirring of your heart.
I wonder if the world as we know it is coming to an end.
I wonder if that might be a good thing.
I wonder what our best selves could create with what is left.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

making the best of things

Way back in March, I realized that our little Maggie in Brooklyn was stepping into a weird and unusual chapter in her life. Taking advantage of all the opportunities of living in an engaging city came to a screeching halt. What had once been her busy life in Brooklyn shrunk to a small, one bedroom apartment, where her mama began to teach remotely and her papa was unable to go to his job.

Knowing that Maggie loved going to all the zoos in NYC, and after stumbling onto some fabulous fabric, I sat down and stitched this play cape. I used velcro to fasten the cape so that Maggie, being two and half, could take it on and off "all by MYSELF".

Now that the weather has gotten better, Maggie gets out for carefully supervised runs along the sidewalk (the park is too busy, even in then early morning hours, for her parents to feel comfortable with playtime there). The other day Gretta sent a video of Maggie racing along their sidewalk, with her zoo cape flying in the breeze behind her. Such simple fun in the midst of such limitations. 

Maggie has lots of science equipment, because she is part of a family of (proud) nerds. Please notice the shot of Maggie, in safety goggles, fascinated by smashing open geodes on her stoop. The pacifier is a clever parenting strategy to help keep her hands out of her mouth. She is also into birding. :-)

We missed having Maggie here for spring break in April, and a summertime visit is still up for grabs. Sewing with love, zooming on the internet and snail mail help fill the gaps. 


Saturday, May 23, 2020

blue and green and birch

Oh spring! The sunshine and the warmth have finally arrived in Vermont together, at the same time. We've had a magical few days, with trees leafing out, blossoms opening and plenty of outdoor projects.

But just last week, I was still hunkered down in my sewing studio, trying to conjure a touch of spring. I had been meaning to find a way to keep Cora away from any woolen yarn I may be knitting with. She is fanatically intrigued by wool, which often has a bad outcome. Ahem.

So, I scoured the internet to find a zippered project bag to my liking. I found this "Kit Supply Tote" pattern by Aneela Hoey. I used a Marimekko linen tea towel for the body of the tote, chair tape from Shaker Workshops for the handles and a variety of fabrics for the interior. One of the interior pockets is stitched from my fave birch fabric, one pocket is made from cotton I dyed last spring using birch catkins (do you see what I did there?).

I also stitched a card made with scraps of my homegrown, hand-dyed indigo and a bit of birch bark. It went via snail mail, to New Jersey to cheer a friend.

The days still tumble together, and we've started volume 2 of our "staying home" book. I don't think we ever imagined that would happen when we started the first notebook! Balance is still elusive, but solace can be found in the simplest of things.
  • nesting bluebirds and barn swallows
  • eating baby kale, spinach and lettuces from the hoop house
  • open windows at night, letting in the sounds of the woods
  • a steaming mug of tea, first thing in the morning, held close for warmth still pleases me to no end
  • walking barefoot on the wooden floors again
  • seeing photos of Maggie and Flora, texted by their mamas
Sending each of you love and hope and courage from Vermont.


Thursday, May 21, 2020


just a few weeks after earning her 
master's degree in social work,
our daughter lindsey delivered our second grand baby.
wee flora was born nine days early
(although mother nature probably knows better 
than the doctors about these things).

they are safely home and 
settling into their little family rhythms.

we have met flora via our weekly family zoom call,
but we must wait to snuggle this cutie pie in person.

like you,
dear readers,
our world 
feels so very different
these days.

but greenness is finally creeping up the hills
here in vermont.
and the windows are open and the cats are
sunning themselves with the breezes 
coming through the screens.

a bit like the ferns,
i feel myself unfurling with hope.

how about you?

Saturday, May 9, 2020

here and there

Last weekend it was nearly 70 degrees here and we spent much of the time outdoors, soaking in the hope that these warmer days bring. Alas, this morning, a week later, we woke to 3 inches of snow. And it has snowed all day long, with a peek of sunshine in between the squalls. After our zoom book club meeting last night, we all ran out to rescue our daffodils just as the snow started. 

We drove a bit south one evening and splurged on our first maple creemee of the season (a Vermont treat...soft serve flavored with real maple syrup). If you ever come to visit, we'll go get some.

Our road these past few weeks has reminded me of Dorothy's yellow brick road, but ours is lined with coltsfoot, a wildflower that grows in ditches and railroad shoulders. 

My brother out in Portland, OR got himself a sweet little kitten. The film he is working on does not require the usual travel, and due to our stay-at-home situation, he finally felt like he has time and space in his life for a cat. I made a few cat toys from scraps I found on the floor of this factory last time I was there and sent them off to welcome my feline nephew. xo

So, that's my ramble for today. The days continue to be filled with both dreadful news and bits of hope and compassion. It's just the way things are right now.

Breathing in, exhaling slowly. 

"If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath." -Amit Ray

Thank you, friends, for your recent comments and emails. I really do appreciate them. If you would like a personal bit of snail mail, email me your address. :-)

Monday, May 4, 2020

lots of links

This episode of Science Friday had me pondering the difference between hope and courage. Timely, to say the least.

As April slipped into May, National Poetry Month came to a close. Before I forget, I want to invite you to listen to this episode of On Being which includes audio of poet Wendell Berry reading his own work. (Sometimes I call him Saint Wendell).

And our book group is reading Crazy Brave, memoir of Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. I have only recently discovered her work, and it is fascinating.

This episode of Living the Questions (also with Krista Tippet) asks, "How can we balance connection with disconnection?" Another timely conversation, given the way so many of us are dependent on our technology these days.

There is another free "Playful Pause", hosted by The Makerie on zoom scheduled this week. You can find information about it here. I registered, maybe I'll see you there.

Sad/happy...We could not attend our daughter Lindsey's graduation ceremony in Detroit on Wednesday. She earned her Master's Degree in Social Work (and we know the world needs more help than ever before) This girl really worked hard on her degree (and at Sister Pie for much of the time)...but we had a zoom party and Hannah snuck over to Lindsey's house and decorated the front porch and had vegetarian sushi delivered to the door. What else could we do? This is life in 2020. And thank goodness we still have things to celebrate, despite the quieter format!

Sending you love from Vermont. Maybe some of these pics will give you some breathing space.


Friday, May 1, 2020

rowan and willow and spring flowers

 Happy May Day to you!
 Recently, I discovered the work of Danica Child over at Fair Folk Podcast. She is a writer, "Rediscovering and sharing the sacred song and folk traditions of Europe". My curiosity was stirred and so I checked out her website. A few days ago I listened to Big Beltane:May Day Song and Custom. Here is a link to the fascinating Soundcloud podcast.

After I listened to the podcast, Batman and I wandered around the yard with clippers in hand. We took a few clippings from one of our magical Rowans, and some willow too. Thought to ward off evil spirits that may be stirred up between midnight and dawn on May Day, I crafted a protective swag from the branches for our front door. I tucked tet-a-tet daffodils and Scilla into a birchbark collar I fashioned for the spray.

It remains a very chilly and wet spring here in Vermont, and even the plants in the hoop house are sluggish. The spinach, kale and mixed greens are coming along, but everything else is still in the utility room, under grow lights. The seed potatoes arrived and are waiting till the soil is a bit warmer.

But friends, all these growing things are reminders of hope. Fragile, slowly creeping hope. And that is certainly something to hang onto these days!


(And just to be clear, I wholeheartedly support the other version of May Day...a day to honor and stand in solidarity with laborers and essential workers everywhere, especially now).